Stuff Happens. Plans Change. {Or My November}

Since January, I had a plan for November. Actually, I didn’t just have a plan, I had a ten-page itinerary lining out one of the most spectacular trips I could have imagined. I wasn’t just excited. I was ecstatic. Keeping with my philosophy of not talking about things too much until they happen, I kept my news pretty much bottled up, only telling people on a need-to-know basis. Let me tell you, that wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

September came, and I was enjoying Paris in the fall. Things were just rolling right along according to plan. I was kicking back in my Parisian pad and taking in all that the City of Light had to offer. Things were grand, but I couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling about my November trip. Instead of burying my head in the sand and pretending like everything would be all right {which is often my course of action}, I sent a quick email. If the trip wasn’t going to happen, I needed time to adjust my game plan.

Paris Apartment Montmartre 4

Sure enough, I was right. The trip to South Africa was no more. This was to be my first time to Africa, so I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. Even though I’d spent a bundle on a flight and malaria pills, I took the news in stride, figuring it just wasn’t meant to be. South Africa has been there long before me, and it’s not going anywhere. I’ll get to the Dark Continent, but it just won’t be in 2014.

Upon learning the news, I weighed my options. Since my flight to Johannesburg was in and out of Paris, I had two choices: Change my France to Houston departure date and leave Europe early, or stick around Paris a bit longer. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which option I preferred.

Paris Apartment Montmartre 3

A Skype call to Swiss Air helped solidify my decision—I was getting all but $200 back from my canceled South Africa flight. I could apply that money toward one more month in Paris. After all, that credit card bill was paid months ago. This was ‘free’ money, right? In addition, if I changed my flight on United, I would have had to pay $300. Thus in my French-obsessed my mind, Paris was practically paying {and begging} for me to stay. The only thing left was to find a place to stay.

In September, I stayed in the 9th arrondissement. As much as I enjoyed and felt comfortable in the neighborhood, I knew I wanted to try something else. For a good two weeks, I pored over apartment listings, weighing my options. I just about drove myself crazy trying to find the perfect combination of location, price, and amenities. Finally, I just said, “To hell with it” and booked an apartment.

Paris Apartment Montmartre 2

Montmartre

Far removed from all the main tourist spots, Montmartre is the highest point in the city. Known for its bohemian feel, art scene and Sacré-Cœur, this is the former stomping ground of Renoir, Matisse, and Picasso. For the next four weeks, it will also be mine. Seen the movie, Moulin Rouge? If so, then you know Montmartre. I love this area for its village vibe and the fact that it’s uniquely Paris. There’s so much character, despite the hoards of tourists that have discovered this pretty piece of the city.

I’ve got a gorgeous one-bedroom apartment on avenue Junot. One mention of this street causes Parisians to swoon. I’ve been told on several occasions that Junot is the most beautiful street in the city. Apparently, it’s the avenue that appears in the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec and Utrillo, as well as photos by Robert Doisneau. Plus, Edith Piaf used to live on Junot. By the sound of things, I chose well.

Paris Apartment Montmartre 1

I’m not getting to go to South Africa, but I am staying in Paris for a while longer. I’d say that’s a great consolation prize. I already have a few spectacular things planned, but mostly I’m going to hang around my ‘hood, drink coffee {wine}, and write. So, rejoice, my fellow Francophiles. You’ll be able to get your French-fix from me a little while longer.

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20 Comments
  • Savi of Bruised Passports
    October 31, 2014

    Montmartre is my favourite area in Paris – well picked Leah!! I’m sure you’ll have a great month in Paris but I do hope your trip to South Africa materialises in 2015 – it’s a spectacular country 🙂

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      Despite the fact that it’s a little out of the way, I really love Montmartre. It has everything I need, and I could easily stay in the neighborhood for a week without leaving.

  • Lance | Trips By Lance
    October 31, 2014

    Roll with it. What else can you do? Maybe I’m remembering wrong, but seems like your first trip was in November (that Lionel Richie story)? If I’m wrong, then have a blast exploring the city during a time you’ve never visited. If I’m correct, I hope you discover some new ways to enjoy Paris in November.

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      Lionel was in November/December of 2012, which was my first trip to Paris. I wish I was staying longer so I could see the city in full Christmas regalia. I can imagine it’s even more magical.

  • Jenny Heggs
    November 1, 2014

    I love love love Paris and especially Montmartre – the first time I went there was in 1997 and I didn’t know its history – I could appreciate it for its charm and beautiful streets – I was there again in 2011 and obviously saw the Arty and bohemian side – I am so looking forward to your daily updates and photos – merci

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      I’m still stumbling on to and learning about the history of the area. It’s simply fascinating.

  • Jenna
    November 3, 2014

    I certainly don’t mind that you will be sticking around Paris a bit longer. 😉 I really enjoy your updates and photos from Paris, a city I really should know much better. However, I also really want to go to S. Africa, so when the time comes for your trip there, I will follow along just as eagerly.

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      Paris and South Africa are like pie and cake…it’s hard to go wrong with either. I hate that I didn’t get to SA, but I sure am loving my extra month in the City of Light. 🙂

  • Cristina Baker
    November 3, 2014

    Sounds like a plan to me! Meanwhile, I am still pulling strings to get you down to Mérida, Yucatán!

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      After being in the city for so long, a little sun and Mexican food sound great!

  • Amanda C @ UnrestingSea
    November 3, 2014

    Your love for Paris is contagious. I was only there for a short time and didn’t find it to be the most charming of places, but your adoration for the city and all your posts make me feel like I need to return and give Paris a second chance. I’m getting the itch for Paris… and I’m going to blame it on you! 🙂

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      I do hope you’ll give Paris another try and possibly find a little bit to like about the city I love.

  • Susan Roberts
    November 3, 2014

    Be sure to go to Angelina’s for the world’s best hot chocolate! http://www.angelina-paris.fr/fr/

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      I finally went last week. It was divine!

  • Kathy rowe
    November 3, 2014

    i had no idea you were going to spend another month in Paris and I would have to endure your posts that i read with envy. Please explain how the short days and the weather feel along with the non-touristy parts of Montmartre. I did it all wrong in the Spring and can’t wait for your insights and photos. I’m counting the months til I return.

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      Well, it was my little secret for about six weeks. :-)The shorter days don’t bother me, but the month has been mild in terms of weather. Just stay away from Sacré-Cœur, and the rest of Montmartre is void of tourist, especially on the weekdays.

  • Angelica @BkChickTravels
    November 4, 2014

    I always believe that things happen for a reason, so maybe it’s better that it got cancelled! If you see something in the news, then that’s a freaky moment if something bad occurs down there. You might never know what negative event you may have been part of , until next time!

    • Leah Walker
      November 17, 2014

      I think that too, Angelica. It turns out that this month in Paris has been my favorite ever!

  • Laurie
    November 18, 2014

    Since you are stuck in Paris, I’d suggest you take a fast train and spend a few days at Taize. Talk about a life-changing spiritual place! Read about its history, its music, its thousands of pilgrims every week. I loved it. http://www.taize.fr

    • Leah Walker
      December 2, 2014

      I never consider myself stuck in Paris, but I’d love to visit Taize. I remember you telling me about it.

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